should comparisonI’ve been shoulding on myself. It’s a nasty, stinky, embarrassing business. It took me well into adulthood to break this filthy habit, and I thought I was finished with the whole, ugly mess.

But, no.

“Comparison is the thief of joy,” said Theodore Roosevelt. He was wise in so many ways. Life Hacker explores it further here.

My intellect is convinced comparison is the perfect way to verify my progress, validate my work and move forward. What kind of drooling, slack-jawed logic is that? (Click to Tweet)

For instance, if I were producing cutting edge work, creating never before seen,  mind-blowing and history-making art, who would validate that? My hubs would, for sure…but probably no one else. Being the weak-minded, approval seeking artist I am, I’d probably stop what I was doing, hang my head in shame, strike a match and burn the canvasses.


I know better. Picasso painted shit sometimes. For me, it’s time to regroup, re-set the compass and follow one of my guiding principles… again…


Yeah, I do realize the irony here. Ahem…moving right along…

  • I will not utter the word or entertain the thought I should paint soley to please others.
  • I will not utter the word or entertain the thought I should paint solely to make money (though, I still welcome monetary appreciation).
  • I will not utter the word or entertain the thought I SHOULD be doing more, or differently, or like “X.” Art is an

    “New England Polaroid” Courtesy of Micah Crandall Bear

    expression of who we are. If you told me to write differently, I’d tell you to stick it right up your own “shoulder.” (um, that’s should-er…not shoulder. Everyone’s a critic).

The creative process is a freeing, often joyful, venting of the soul. How can creativity truly take flight when you’re desperately trying to follow rules set by society, groups and the muckity-mucks? They all have different opinions. The very nature of striving to please others completely interferes with the process.  When we compare ourselves to others, or even compare our previous work to our current work, it can cause issues. If worrying about the measurements doesn’t impact our work, it is apt to affect commitments we’ve made to ourselves. That being said, we do need to employ methods to move forward and grow. But, not at the expense of our art itself.

A friend, Micah Crandall-Bear, whose work I simply adore, recently posted this quote:

should comparison

 Thank you for sharing the quote, Micah. It gave me the permission I needed. Someday I should be lucky to paint

just. like. you.

Crud!  I guess everyone’s entitled to a slip now and then.

 Keep it Clean!




Special thanks to Micah Crandall-Bear for his generosity and sharing an image of his incredible work and Andy Warhol’s quote. He can be found at 

Michelle Andres is a writer, artist and coach who nudges, nay, shoves, her clients in the direction of their dreams, Writer, Artist, Coachhelping them to overcome non-productive behaviours and enjoy more success in their lives. 

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